SEO Glossary: The Ultimate List of SEO Terms You Should Know

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VIEWS: 8249 Views CATEGORY: SEO READING TIME: 19 Min To Read UPLOADED ON: 03 May 2019

Just as in any specialized field, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has its own unique set of vocabularies, jargon, and terminologiesGetting the hang of SEO itself is no easy feat, not to mention getting used to the terms. But if you know the right SEO terms, it'd speed up things for you in terms of helping you understand the workings of search engine optimisation and getting results faster. That's why we're putting together this SEO glossary of 150+ significant SEO terms you should know. Let's go through them:


  • Algorithm

A high-tech, complex computer program often used by search engines like Google to retrieve data from the web and deliver results for search queries.

  • Alt tag (Alt attribute)

An attribute is inserted within the image tag in HTML and used to specify alternate text for an image on a web page.

  • Ambiguous intent

This is a search phrase in which the goal of the searcher is not immediately clear and needs further specification.

  • AMP

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and is a Google-backed project designed to make the viewing experience super fast and convenient for mobile visitors.

  • Anchor Text

This is the clickable text on which a hyperlink sits.

  • API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It lets developers of Web builders create applications by allowing access to the features or data of another service.

  • APO

App Store Optimization (APO) is about optimizing mobile apps to rank on app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store. APO is to apps, while SEO is to websites.

  • Authority Site

An authority site is a high-quality, content-driven website that is a respected and trusted source of information in a particular industry. It is usually a large website delivering great value through excellent editorial standards and thus is trusted by users, industry experts, and even search engines.

  • Auto-Generated Content

This refers to content generated by a computer program as opposed to being written by a human.


  • Baidu

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China. In China, it has a market share of over 69.50 per cent while it's market share worldwide is only 1.37%. Baidu offers almost the same services as Google.

  • Backlink (External link, Inbound link, Incoming link)

A backlink refers to an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO.

  • Bing

Bing is a search engine owned by Microsoft with a market share of 3.18% worldwide and direct competition with Google Search.

  • Bingbot

Bing's bot for crawling the web.

  • Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO is a set of practices used to increase search engine rankings but through means that violate the search engine's terms of service. These include keyword stuffing, doorway pages, cloaking, using paid links, over-optimization, hidden text, bait and switch and so on.

  • Bots

Also known as “crawlers” or “spiders,” these are the programs or engines that scour the web to find content. Examples are Google bots and Bing bots.

  • Bounce Rate

The percentage of total visits indicating how many visitors came to your website and then left immediately after without performing any secondary action or browsing any of your other pages.


  • Caffeine

This is relative to Google’s web indexing system. It is the collection of web content. This happens as Googlebot scours the Internet to find content.

  • Channel

In the context of SEO, “channel” refers to the sources through which traffic comes to a website. Usually, it includes organic (search engine traffic), direct, social media, paid, referral, and so on.

  • Click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. CTR is commonly used to measure the success of an online marketing campaign.

  • Client-side/server-side rendering

Client-side talks of when files are executed in the browser. Server-side rendering means that when the browser fetches the page over HTTP, it immediately gets back HTML describing the page. Server-side rendering is nice because your content is visible to search engines like Google, making the page load faster.

  • Cloaking

Cloaking is a black hat SEO technique where you show different content to search engines than to human visitors. In other words, the content presented to the search engine spider is different from the one presented to the user's browser.

  • Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors. The goal could be to fill a form, click on a button, make a purchase, download a file, etc.

  • Crawl budget

The crawl budget is the average number of pages Google will crawl on your site on any given day.

  • Crawler directives

Also called “meta directives,” crawler directives give crawlers instructions about how to crawl and index information they find on a specific webpage.

  • Crawling

In the context of SEO, “crawling” basically means the process of a robot automatically surfing the web, categorizing and analyzing each site it encounters, with the aim of presenting the site’s content to searchers.

  • Critical rendering path (CRP)

CRP is the sequence of steps a browser goes through to receive HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and convert it into a viewable web page.


  • De-indexed

This is relative to the removal of a page or group of pages from Google’s index.

  • Directory links

The directory is an online list or catalogue of websites. This is usually found in the context of local SEO. Thus, it refers to an aggregate list of local businesses usually including each business’s NAP (name, address, phone number) as well as other information like their website.

  • Distance

Click distance is the number of clicks it takes to get to a web page or document from the homepage of the site.

  • Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).

  • Duplicate content

Content that appears on more than one page on the Internet. 

Note: Best websites create content that keeps the reader engaged. Make sure your content is captivating and duplication-free by using a duplicate checker.

  • Dwell time

This is the length of time a searcher stays on your page before returning to the search results. Dwell time is now a critical ranking factor in the RankBrain era.


  • ECommerce SEO

E-commerce SEO is the process of making your online store more visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • Editorial link

An editorial link is not paid for or directly requested, as is the case with acquired links, but is earned naturally or given out of an author’s own volition.

  • Engagement

Engagement shows how searchers interact with your site from search results. The more clicks and time your site gets from searchers, the higher your engagement rate.


  • Faceted navigation

Faceted navigation (also called guided navigation or faceted search) is a content structure technique on an eCommerce website which allows visitors to filter and sort results based on product attributes. For example, shoppers can sort down a page by price (low to high) or filter the page to view only size (medium).

  • Featured snippets

An organic summary of an answer to certain users' queries is usually displayed on top of Google SERPs. It's extracted from a webpage and includes the page's title and URL.


  • Geographic modifiers

A geo modifier (geographic modifier or geotag) is a location-specific keyword, typically used in addition to a search query of a local business or service, which communicates local intent to a search engine. Ex: schools in London

  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service owned and run by Google that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for SEO and marketing purposes.

  • Googlebot

Google’s “crawler” or “spider” surfs the web at several regular intervals to find and index webpages.

  • Google My Business

A free listing of local businesses engineered by Google. It allows businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

  • Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines

A 164-page set of guidelines published by Google used to help human “quality raters” evaluate online content and provide feedback to Google.

  • Google Search Console

A free mega tool provided by Google allows webmasters to monitor how their sites perform in search, check indexing status, optimize the visibility of their websites, and also make necessary changes as required.

  • Google search operators

Also called advanced operators, these are special characters and commands that extend the capabilities of regular text search queries. For example, adding “site:” before a domain name can return a list of all (or many) indexed pages on the domain.

  • Guest blogging

Guest blogging is creating content for other blogs so that they feature the writer as a guest author. Blog owners often use this strategy to build links and drive traffic to their blogs.


  • Header tags

The header tag or the tag is an HTML element used to designate headings on a page or blog post or to emphasise other text on a page. There are other header tags like h2, h3, h4, etc

  • Hreflang

The HTML hreflang attribute (commonly mistaken as a "tag") tells search engines what languages your content is written in to help searchers find your content in specific languages.

  • HTML

The hypertext markup language is the language used to create web pages.


  • Image carousels

Image results in some SERPs that are scrollable from left to right.

  • Image compression

Improve page loading time with the help of an image compressor. Image Compression is about making image file sizes smaller without degrading the image’s quality. 

  • Image sitemap

This is a type of sitemap containing only the URLs of images on a website.

  • Index

A huge database of all the content search engine crawlers has been discovered and deemed good enough to serve up to searchers.

  • Indexing

The process of adding web pages into Google search. Depending on which meta tag you used (index or no-index), Google will crawl and index your pages.

  • Intent

In the context of SEO, search intent or keyword intent, is the ultimate goal of the person using a search engine given that people look for, process, and use search results differently based on their ultimate goal.

  • Internal links

Links on a page which point to other pages on the same website are known as internal links.

Find similar images with the help of an image search tool. Image search is about searching for plagiarized images over the web.



JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) is a format for structuring your data on a site. While can be implemented in a number of different formats, JSON-LD is only one of them, but it is the most preferred by Google.


  • Keyword Difficulty

A numerical score helps determine your chances of ranking for a certain keyword in the top of the search. In other words, how difficult would it be to rank for a particular keyword given the level of competition? It's also called keyword competition.

  • Keyword Prominence

The prominent placement of keywords or phrases within a web page. Prominent placement may be in the page header, meta tags, opening paragraph, or start of a sentence.

  • Keyword stuffing

A spammy SEO tactic involves the unnecessary overuse of keywords and their variants in a web page's meta tags, visible content, or backlink anchor text in an attempt to gain an unfair rank advantage in search engines.

  • KPI

A “key performance indicator” is a measurable value that shows how well your marketing activity or campaign is performing.


  • Lazy loading

Lazy loading is a web optimization tactic which involves deferring the rendering of an object until the point at which it is needed. The elements on the web page do not load until the moment the user wants to view it. It's also known as on-demand loading and is the opposite of eager loading.

  • Local business schema

Structured data markup helps search engines understand information about a local business.

  • Local pack

The Local Pack is the section in Google search results in pages that display businesses relevant to the searcher's geographical location. It is typically three local business listings.

  • Local query

An example of a local query is “malls near me” which is typically a search query used to find local information.

  • Link accessibility

Refers to how easy it is for a user or crawler to find a link on a web page.

  • Link building

The activity of getting other websites to link back to your site is called Link Building.

  • Link equity

The value or authority a link can pass to its destination.

  • Link exchange

Also known as reciprocal linking, it is the activity of two or more webmasters linking back to each other. Excessive link exchanges are a violation of Google’s quality guidelines.

  • Link profile

The totality of links directing to your website.

  • Local SEO

The process or activity of optimizing a website to rank for local searches such as “pizza delivery near me.”

  • Link volume

The total amount of links on a page.

  • Linked unstructured citations

References to a business’ complete or partial contact information on a non-directory platform (like online news, blogs, best-of lists, etc.)

  • Long-tail keywords

Long search queries typically contain more than three words. Indicative of their length, they are often more specific than short-tail queries.


  • Meta descriptions

A snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – summarizes a page's content. Search engines sometimes display these as the description line in search results are known as Meta Descriptions.

  • Manual penalty

Refers to a Google “Manual Action” where a human reviewer decides that certain pages on your site violate Google’s quality guidelines.

  • Meta robots tag

Pieces of code that provide crawlers instructions for how to crawl or index web page content.

  • Mobile-first indexing

Mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query. This change began effectively in 2018.


  • NoFollow

An HTML attribute value is used to instruct crawling bots that a hyperlink should not influence the link target's ranking in the search engine's index.

  • NoIndex tag

A meta tag is placed on a web page to discourage search engine bots from indexing the page.


  • Organic

As opposed to paid ad listing, “organic” in the context of SEO means the earned placement in search results.


  • Page Authority

While Domain Authority predicts how well a website will perform SERPs, Page Authority (PA) predicts an individual page’s ranking ability.

  • Page load time

Page load time is the time it takes to download and display the entire content of a web page in the browser window (measured in seconds). You can measure your website page speed here.

  • PageRank

A value assigned to a web page as a measure of its popularity or importance used to determine the order in which search engine results are presented is called PageRank.

  • Pages per session

“Pages per session” or “page depth” describes the average number of pages visitors view on your site per single visit.

  • Pagination

The process of breaking down a large quantity of content and splitting it into several pages. This makes it easier for visitors to navigate and read the content as well as for the site to look and perform better.

  • Panda

A major change to Google's algorithm was first released in February 2011. Panda aimed at removing or degrading low-quality sites, particularly content farms, while rewarding the high-quality ones.

  • Pruning

In the context of SEO, pruning typically means removing low-quality pages in order to increase the overall quality of the site.

  • Purchased links

Links that are bought to be placed on a website.

  • Plagiarism

Content That is Copied from some other resource is known as plagiarised content.


  • Qualified lead

If you use your website to encourage potential customers to contact you via phone call or form, a “lead” is every contact you receive. Not all of those leads will become customers, but “qualified” leads are relevant prospects with a high likelihood of becoming paying customers.

  • Qualified traffic

Qualified traffic means the visitors coming from search engines to your site is relevant to the intended topic of the page and are thus more likely to find the content useful and convert.

  • Quality score

Quality Score is Google's rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads.

  • Query

Search terms are typed into the search bar of search engines.


  • Ranking

The ordering and arrangements of search results by relevance to the query.

  • RankBrain

An AI-based, machine learning search engine algo, used by Google to process and provide more relevant search results for users.

  • Redirection

Redirection occurs when a URL is coerced to show the content and Web page of another URL.

  • Referral Traffic

Visits that come to your website from another website.

  • Rel=canonical

A canonical tag (aka "rel canonical") is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. It tells Google which version of a web page is the original and which are the duplicates.

  • Resource Pages

A resource page is simply a page containing a list of helpful links to other websites or resources for a particular topic.

  • Responsive Design

An approach to web page creation that utilizes flexible layouts, flexible images, and cascading style sheet media queries. Its aim is to build web pages that detect the visitor's screen size and orientation and then change the layout accordingly. This is Google’s preferred design pattern for mobile-friendly websites.

  • Rich Snippet

A snippet is a title and description preview that Google and other search engines display on the results page. A rich snippet is an enhanced version of the standard snippet mostly enabled by the use of structured data markup.

  • Robots.txt

A text file webmasters create to instruct search engine robots on how to crawl and index pages on their website. The robots.txt file is typically a part of the robots exclusion protocol (REP).


  • (or Structured Data) is a way to organize your data, for example, by labeling it with additional information that helps the search engine understand it better. In other words, it helps the search engines understand what the page is all about.

  • Scraped Content

Scraping content is taking content from other places on the web and publishing it on your own site without permission on your own site. This has serious SEO downsides.

  • Scroll Depth

A way of tracking how far visitors are scrolling down the web pages of a site.

  • Search Engine

A search engine is a service that allows web users to search for content via the World Wide Web (WWW) by entering keywords or key phrases into a search bar and getting a list of web content results in the form of links and short descriptions. Examples are Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and Yahoo.

  • Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Guidelines for human raters that work for Google to determine the quality of real web pages.

  • Search Traffic

Visits are sent to your websites from search engines like Google.

  • Search Volume

The number of times a keyword was searched for within a given time period.

  • Seed Keywords

The term we use to describe the primary words that describe the product or service you provide.

  • SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, and it is the process of optimizing your website and its pages to become more discoverable and show up on more SERPs on search engines so that the number of visitors the site receives is maximized.

  • SERP

Stands for “search engine results page” — the page you see after searching for information on Google or any other search engine.

  • Sitemap

The sitemap is a list of URLs on your site that crawlers can use to discover and index your content.


  • Thin content

Content that provides little or zero value to the visitor.

  • Title tag

An HTML element that specifies the title of a web page.

  • Traffic

Users’ visits to a website.


  • Unnatural links

Google describes unnatural links as “creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page.” This is a violation of their guidelines and could warrant a penalty.

  • URL

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locators” and are the locations or addresses for individual pieces of content on the web.

  • URL parameters

A URL can be used to pass the information along with the click. Any word after the question mark "?" in a URL is considered to be a parameter which can hold values. Thus, the URL parameter is the information following a question mark that is appended to a URL to change the page’s content (active parameter) or track information (passive parameter).

  • UTM code

An urchin tracking module (UTM) is a simple code that you can append to the end of your URL to track additional details about the click, such as its source, medium, and campaign name.


  • Webmaster guidelines

Guidelines published by search engines like Google and Bing define the actions that webmasters can take to make their websites better indexable or crawlable.

  • White hat SEO

Search engine optimization practices that comply with the webmaster guidelines of search engines.


  • X-robots-tag

Like meta robots tags, this tag provides crawlers instructions on how to crawl or index web pages.

You Can Also Read About SEO Hacks Perfect For Start-Ups With Limited Funds & Time.


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